On Sunday evening, I had the honor of leading the evenings lesson in my and Amber’s small group. First, I have to say what a humbling honor that was to be asked to do that when our group leader was away. Amber and I just started with this group this year, but I have to say, it sometimes feels like we’ve known them for a while. A truly awesome bunch of people. While this may have been just a small lesson with a small audience, it was a big deal to me to step out even with people I know and do this. Anyway…I digress and move to the reason I’m writing this.
Our teaching on Sunday revolved around something that for many of us today, even those in the Christian faith struggle with at one time or another. That is obedience to God. The example from Scripture we study from is from Joshua 6, when the Israelites stands before Jericho and God gives Joshua instruction, as odd as it may sound to march around the city walls once for 7 days with seven priests each blowing a rams’ horn along with the full army and the Ark of the Covenant. On the 7th day the march around 7 times, then after the 7th time around, first just imagine how long this took to get everyone around 7 times, and I’m sure they were exhausted, then the entire nation shouted and the walls of Jericho came crashing down allowing them to take the city.
This story exemplifies what trust and obedience in God’s commands can do for us. There were numerous stories of this through Scripture and also examples of where disobedience and the consequences that can come with that. 1 Samuel 15 came to mind when Saul did not follow God’s instruction to destroy the Amalekites completely and spared King Agag and kept the best of all the king had. This lead to David’s anointing as king. Also there was Jonah who was instructed to go to Nineveh, but he fled to Tarshish instead, and wound up in the belly of a giant fish.
Now look at Jesus. He was one that showed complete obedience throughout His time here on earth following the Fathers will through everything, even to the point of willingly, despite the suffering he endured, to be nailed to a cross and give his life to allow us to return to the Father through Him. Our Sunday sermon at church talked about following Jesus. This is another example of being obedient. We are called to follow Him, walk with Him, not accept Him. Too many just say they accept Jesus as their savior, but no real backing behind that to show that Christ has changed them. We are called to walk with Him. Look at the example of the ragamuffins that Jesus had with Him as His disciples. They dropped everything to follow Jesus in obedience and the world was never the same from there.
Obedience is such a struggle throughout our lives. Even when we know the Spirit is leading us somewhere or to do something completely different than anything we’ve ever known, we have difficulty with that. We struggle with what will people think? Can we really do what we’re being asked to do? Is this really what God is calling on me to do? Or just think it’s such so outlandish that we could never do this.
As difficult as obedience may seem and as odd a direction may seem, you can’t go wrong with following and obeying God’s lead. This goes with all aspects of life, from career, to family and friends, to church and community. We have to learn to follow and obey. Yes, the word obey just seems a little old school to some. For others it may just seem to churchy to talk about being obedient. A.W. Tozer said, “Our Lord told His disciples that love and obedience were organically united. The final test of love is obedience.” This statement is so true. Truly walking in the love of God leads to obedience in Him. A desire to walk with Him, seek Him each day, to disciple and fellowship with others, to engage in the spiritual warfare we encounter. We are in Christ there’s no other way to be, but obedient in Him.
2015 is the year I’ve recognized this. It’s been a year of drastic transformation. A transformation that continues, but has lead me to follow God down a path that I have never gone before. Each day is now unscripted, but I follow God in obedience and with full faith in where He leads, even though it is now uncharted waters for my life and for my family. As I’ve said before, it’s all in God’s hands, but seriously…Is there any other way to live? I mean truly live?
“The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are at opposite sides of the same coin.” – A.W. Tozer